April 24, 2014


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The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems

Project Scope

Based on an assessment of a limited set of possible alternative chemistries for
life, the study (1) evaluated the possibility that non-standard chemistry
may support life in known solar system and conceivable extrasolar environments;
and (2) defined broad areas that might guide NASA, NSF, and other relevant
agencies and organizations to fund efforts to expand scientific knowledge in
this area.

Overall, the programmatic goal of the study was to identify research
directions that will assess the likelihood of non-terran life and the potential
cost needed to find it. From this came a recommendation whether the
likelihood of finding non-terran life is sufficiently low that NASA should
ignore its possibility, or sufficiently high that it should pursue it.

The report was released third quarter 2007.

This project was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Read the report.

Committee Membership:

Dr. John A. Baross - (Chair)
University of Washington
Dr. Robert Shapiro
New York University
Dr. Steven A. Benner
University of Florida
Dr. Mitchell Sogin
Marine Biological Laboratory
Dr. George D. Cody
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick
Dr. Jeffrey L. Stein
Quorex Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Shelley D. Copley
University of Colorado at Boulder
Dr. Roger Summons
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Norman R. Pace
University of Colorado at Boulder
Dr. Jack W. Szostak
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. James H. Scott
Carnegie Institution of Washington


David Smith, Study Director
Space Studies Board



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